Thursday, February 6, 2014

Review of Promethean Theatre Ensemble's The Lark

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Lark. It was written by Jean Anouilh, adapted by Lillian Hellman, and directed by John Arthur Lewis. It's about Joan of Arc (Aila Peck)and about her life. People are telling her life in her trial and then they act it out. I think that Jean Anouilh looked at the transcript of Joan's trial and then that is why he wanted to put not just her story but what they were talking about in her trial. I think that Jean Anouilh wanted to show us that they should have given her another chance and just let her go. It is about religion and what things can be good about war and what can be bad about war. War is good for Joan because it allows her to show everybody women can go into war too and defend their country. It is bad because people get hurt who have families and they won't come back to their families. I liked this play because it told me a lot about Joan that I didn't know from the books that I read.

I really liked how they used the set (designed by Lewis). At first I was like, "How are they going to do it just with these grey blocks?" but they made it work and it was great. I thought they used them very well. The Spanish Inquisitor (Nick Lake), I thought that how he had a special seat was very cool because I think the Inquisitor would have a special seat. You didn't notice him at first but then during the second act, you're like, "Woah! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition" because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition. (I borrowed that joke from Monty Python's Flying Circus.) He was suprising because you never glanced over into that corner because all the action was happening on other blocks. If he was in a giant fancy throne instead of sitting on those tall blocks, everyone would be looking at the the throne because it was so glittery.

I though that the Dauphin (Peter Eli Johnson) wasn't nice to his wife the Little Queen (Meghann Tabor) because he was basically making his wife friends with the girl Agnes (Heather Smith) that he was having an affair with. Then the mistress was being very pushy about wanting to have these special hats for them at the party. When he started talking about how he thought his wife was okay but a little pushy but he didn't like his mistress and I'm just like, "Just break up with your mistress and just tell your wife that there is something you don't like her doing!" I thought the way he talked to Joan was really horrible; he was like "You are just a girl so I shouldn't listen to you." But Joan actually helped him to get rid of the people who were telling him what to do. We are not supposed to really like the Dauphin because he is mean to Joan sometimes, and Joan's the hero.

There are a lot of unfeminist people in this, including a drunk man Beaudricort (Brian Hurst), who thinks the only thing great about a woman is her body. But Joan ends up convincing him that she is not there because she thinks he's hot, but because she wants a horse, some armor, and a armed escort. I think Joan's Father (John Walski) was another not feminist person. He thought that women should just obey men and if they ran off with someone they should just be killed rather than be in love with a man. When the father tried to strangle Joan I was scared for her, and I wondered why does she have to be treated this way? The Mother (Kimberly Logan) is not as bad as the father because she is nicer to Joan but she is still not feminist. She doesn't think about going on giant adventures to go and save France; she thinks about cooking, plucking chickens and raising a family. That is all she thinks about.

The people in the trial were Cauchon (Brian Parry), The Spanish Inquisitor, Warwick (Brian Pastor) and Ladvenu (Brendan Hutt). Ladvenu was Joan's confessor and was the only nice person in the entire room. He wanted for Joan to be safe and not to be burned and was even happy that she had to go to jail instead of die. Warwick was a jerk but he was not as bad as the Spanish Inquisitor. I think he was nicer to Joan than some other people were because he actually liked Joan. I could tell because he said that to Joan when she was in prison. He couldn't say that in court because he would probably get killed for saying that. Cauchon was kind of nice to Joan but sometimes he could be a little harsh. He didn't yell at her all the time; when he told her she would have to spend the rest of her life in prison he wasn't happy. He seemed like he was having a hard time, but I think maybe he did sort of like running the trial.

When Joan was being burned I thought it was a good idea that they didn't put it on stage because it just wouldn't have worked on stage. I also really liked the ending; it was something along the lines of "Let's not remember Joan being burned at the stake; let's remember her in her finest moments." And that was after Joan was already dead, and I think that is right. She is known as the girl who was burned at the stake, but we should remember her as the girl who made France win the war. It made me feel very sad when Joan dies, even though I knew it was going to happen, because she is amazing and I feel like you really got to know the character and feel like she was a really brave character.

People who would like this show are people who like history, feminism, and surprising Spanish Inquisitions. People should definitely go and see this show because if you don't know a lot about Joan of Arc it will tell you a lot of stuff that you didn't know and the acting is great.

Photos: Tom McGrath

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